Google releases the new Spaces tool. It is intended to create a central place for hybrid work for businesses and individuals.
However, Google does not give concrete details about this location. Only a screenshot shows that it is – also – part of Gmail. It includes separate channels for topics, projects, and teams, from which users can quickly access relevant content. Google specifies that Spaces is also integrated with its Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Meet and Tasks tools. Basically, the functions seem similar to those of competitors like Slack and Microsoft Teams.
Other features are planned in the coming months: Google is planning in particular a flexible user interface to simplify navigation to the different communication channels, or online discussion threads, security and administration functions as well as a search function. Spaces have already existed once in the Google universe, the messenger for group chats was discontinued in 2017.
Spaces are also called upon to play an important role in the preparation of meetings and, in some cases, to reduce their number. For example, users can specify whether they want to attend a meeting virtually or physically. Additionally, by setting the location of each working day in Google Calendar, meeting planners can plan ahead for a mix of in-person and virtual attendance.
In addition to scheduled meetings, spontaneous meetings are now possible thanks to the Google Meet Calling tool. Users can initiate the call in a one-on-one chat or directly in Spaces. Currently, it is only available in the Gmail app.
In November, a “companion” mode for Google Meet will follow. In this mode, users can join a meeting with their own device, even if they are seated in the same room, and use shared audio and video playback. This is handy for seeing the screen up close or for everyone to access the shared chat. Live translated subtitles are also planned for Meet at the end of the year. It is planned to display the English language in French, German, Spanish and Portuguese.